I hate questions. You might ask me why, but then you’d be asking me a question, so don’t. It’s not that I have anything to hide, or that I don’t like to share information, I just don’t like questions.
I’ve found it difficult my whole life to articulate what, exactly, it is about questions that irritate me so much. Or why it’s not all questions, just some questions. I think I’ve finally figured it out, so I’ve narrowed it down to the 5 kinds of questions that drive me crazy.
Type 1: The Unnecessary Question
Something has happened. We were both there. We both saw it happen. But someone asks if it happened.
My neighbour and I arrived a the bus stop within about 20 seconds of each other. We both crossed the same oval from the same path from the same complex, and arrived at the same bus stop. Across from the bus stop there was a water truck. It was plugged in to the hydrant. Water was spewing out of the hose, into the air, and gushing across the pavement. My neighbour asked “Is it leaking?”
Which brings me to…
Type 2: The Oracle Question
Something has happened. We were both there. We both saw it happen. We both have exactly the same amount of information about the incident, yet I’m somehow expected to have more.
Same example as above, but the next day. The truck is there again. It’s still leaking water, yet not as much. It is, again, a water truck, and plugged in to the hydrant to get water. This time, my neighbour asks “Do they live there?”
That was particularly irritating as the information available at hand (water truck, plugged in to water hydrant) already provided the answer, which brings me to…
Type 3: The Answer Known
The answer can be easily found by looking at the information at hand. No question is required to ascertain the information sought, as it is all there.
In a previous job I wrote a manual on how to perform a certain task. They were step by step instructions on using a website to enter information. The instructions included screen shots to assist with following them, as well as a diagram of the overall process. But my phone would ring, with “Can you take me through how to do this?” and we would sit there, on the phone, as I got them to read out the instructions themselves and follow them as per the instructions. “What do I do next?” “What is the next step in your instructions?” And we would get there, with no further information from me.
But it could be worse, it could be…
Type 4: The Statement
A statement is made. It is not a question at all. It doesn’t even remotely sound like a question, but it’s expected to be answered.
“Have you seen Bob lately?”
“Is he still with Jane?”
“Yes, I believe they just got married.”
“Oh. What was the wedding like, I wonder…”
It’s not a question!! Or statements where you’re, apparently, meant to do something. The photocopier is broken. We’re out of milk. I don’t know where Bob sits.
But even that, is not as bad as…
Type 5: The Invasive Question
In this question it is assumed that everything of mine is your business. This question is not irritating when asked in an honest manner, but it is irritating when asked while also finding out the answer yourself. Particularly if it involves food.
The other day I was holding a Country Road bag. Laura* arrived, puts out her hand, grab the side of the bag. She pull it towards herself, opens it, looks inside the bag and asks “What’s in the bag?” (the answer was bananas).
Or this woman I used to work with who would walk into my office, pick up anything on my desk, and ask what it was. “What are you reading?” while picking up and looking at the cover of my book. “What are you eating?” while picking up my tupperware, opening it and looking inside.
You get the idea. And I know most of the time these questions are asked without a hint of malice intended (although I’m a little bit suspicious the invasive question might be a power play). I’m sure that people aren’t trying to be frustrating. Sometimes they are asked as an ice breaker, sometimes people are just curious. Sometimes people just want a bit more information or require a little bit of extra support.
My hatred is completely illogical. It’s not supported in any way. But every time, I find myself thinking “Gosh, I hate questions”.
Do you hate questions? Does it bother you when people ask you a lot of questions? Do you like questions? Do you have any irrational pet peeves? Please tell me I’m not alone!
Tamsin Howse has written 178 posts.
Tamsin is a wife, stepmother and blogger with a passion for people and relationships, fashion and beauty, and an inability to successfully complete household tasks. Co-founder and Editor-in-chief of KiKi & Tea.
Follow on twitter: @TamsinHowse